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Solar Doghouse

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One of my projects for this winter is a bad weather shelter for our dogs. Last winter during the snow storms and the cold weather, we allowed our outdoor-living dogs the shelter of our sunroom. The dogs lacked the training for indoors living so allowing them to stay in our sunroom was a great hassle for us humans. Over coffee one morning this fall, I convinced Kathy that they should have their own sunroom or a solar-heated doghouse and run. I sold it to Kathy as a solar doghouse, but for me it was really the little greenhouse I've always wanted to build, but couldn't justify.

Poor late Mike, the old short-haired dog and the most needy for cold weather protection, didn't live to enjoy the new doghouse. Our other dog Zero, although older at 16 years, has plenty of thick hair and is actually energized by the cold. She will probably seldom use the shelter.

I'll still do a doggy door entrance, but now I'm calling it a greenhouse.

Besides the doggy door and a well insulated area for dogs to sleep, I started with two other requirements, a curved top made from metal electrical conduit and a storm door human entrance. The curved top would allow the versatility of using either plastic sheeting or plastic panels and, in the summer, shade fabric. I planned to re-cycle an old storm door for the entrance. I also wanted the house mounted on skids so I could build it in my garage and later move it around the yard. The width, six feet, was set by the diameter of a curved ten foot piece of conduit. The length of eight feet was constrained to the dimensions of plywood for convenience.

The first step was to see if I could successfully bend an electrical conduit. I bought a ten foot piece at Lowes. With pencil and a three foot length of string, I scribed an arc on a scrap piece of plywood, then built a bending jig.
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The bend was more or less a success. The greenhous build was started. First the insulated floor.
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Then the sides and the ends. The height of the sides, four feet, was dictated by the height of the storm door.
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Today, I'll bend and install four more lengths of conduit. Then I'll work on the front end.
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